Sunday, December 30, 2007

Music 2007: Some More Forgotten Albums, Songs

Jens Lekman Night Falls over KortedalaI should confess before going further that my tastes are still shamefully juvenile. As you will shortly see, I adore twee pop and my listening knees go weak for most women with attitude, or rather with the Alanis-like faux anger that passes for attitude. I have never been able to like the challenging sorts of artists Pitchfork promotes so zealously.

Of their top ten records of 2007, I like only bits and pieces of Panda Bear, everyone and their mother likes LCD Soundsystem so that hardly qualifies, M.I.A. I am lukewarm about (other than "Paper Planes"), Radiohead is another story, I barely remember anything on the of Montreal record other than the song about mood shifts and the Georges Bataille name-drop, I hatehatehate Animal Collective, Spoon I love but am surprised to find it in their top ten, Battles I was bored by, The Field also bored me, and Burial I almost like more when I'm remembering it than when I'm listening to it. There's something about Burial that slips into your consciousness—actually listening to it becomes a bit superfluous and kind of spoils the experience. As for some other Pitchfork faves, I've only kind of sort of started liking Grizzly Bear, Dan Deacon confuses the shit out of me, and I don't like Justice.

I do like a number of albums on their list: In addition to the obvious (Radiohead, Spoon, Kanye, Jay-Z, Feist, LCD Soundsystem, Iron & Wine) I thought Caribou's Andorra was great, and I became a huge fan of Dinosaur, Jr. this year. They gave faint praise to Arcade Fire's new effort, which I liked a bit more than they, but they probably held Okkervil River's The Stage Names a little higher than I would. I adored the Jens Lekman and The National records (Night Falls Over Kortedala and Boxer). Life Without Buildings I discovered thanks to their inclusion, and am very grateful.

Andrew Bird Armchair ApocryphaBut I like a lot of artists Pitchfork damns with even fainter praise than they gave The Arcade Fire, and that is especially the case this year. I thought Rogue Wave, Josh Ritter, Andrew Bird and John Vanderslice all produced very solid records which were totally overlooked (Asleep at Heaven's Gate, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, Armchair Apocrypha and Emerald City, respectively). The Voxtrot LP kind of disappointed after the unbelievable run of completely perfect EPs they put out, but was still very good. The single off that record—"Kid Gloves"—is as good as anything else they've done.

I never listened to proper albums of theirs, but I loved the tracks I heard from Seabear and Seawolf—another pair of syntactically identical band names (like Deerhoof and Deerhunter), although this pair does kind of sound the same. Both very twee, which delights me. And then there's Patrick Wolf, whose album as a whole I kind of skipped, but whose single "The Magic Position" I probably listened to more than any other song in 2007. Or if not that, I know I listened to "2080" by Yeasayer a hell of a lot, although I didn't like any of their other songs. And a couple of tracks from the Moving Units album Hexes for Exes—"Blood Beats" and "Dark Walls" are brilliant, at least to me.

Then there's Kate Nash and Carrie Underwood—this was what I spoke of when I said I melt before women with attitude. So help me, I recognize how absolutely silly I am, but I love their singles ("Foundations" and "Before He Cheats"). I cannot resist these slick anthems.

A couple incredible covers which were "released" this year: Dr. Dog's cover of Architecture in Helsinki's "Heart It Races" and Division Day's cover of the Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry "More Than This."

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